A University of Toronto student has achieved what's believed to be a first in aviation.
Todd Reichert, a PhD candidate, has built a human-powered aircraft with flapping wings that the school says set a world record by flying continuously.
The machine — an ornithopter — is inspired by sketches made by Leonardo da Vinci in 1485.
Reichert flew his aircraft, called the Snowbird, in Tottenham, Ont., on Aug. 2 as a witness from the world-governing body for air sports and aeronautical world records watched.
The university says the organization is expected to confirm the ornithopter's world record in October.
Reichert says the wing-flapping device sustained both altitude and airspeed for 19.3 seconds, and covered a distance of 145 metres at an average speed of 25.6 kilometres per hour.
Although its wingspan is comparable to that of a Boeing 737, around 32 metres, the machine weighs just 43 kilograms.